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Friday, December 17, 2010

Sex Trafficking Survivors Prove Their Metal


Made By Survivors...From their Facebook Page:

According to United States State Department data, an "estimated 600,000 to 820,000 men, women, and children [are] trafficked across international borders each year, approximately 70 percent are women and girls and up to 50 percent are minors. The data also illustrates that the majority of transnational victims are trafficked into commercial sexual exploitation." To me, the rapidly growing trade of women and girls, known as sex trafficking, is one of the most tragic and upsetting issues of our time. In India, a major destination country for trafficked women and girls, "As many as 200,000 Nepali girls, many under 14, have been sold into sexual slavery.

The Emancipation Network (T.E.N.) is a unique and powerful organization that is supported not only by donations, but also by the efforts of sexual slavery survivors themselves, who design and create unique fair trade jewelry, bags and gifts. 100% of profits are donated to survivors and shelters.

One of the training programs that not only teaches a trade, but develops self esteem and helps to provide income for the programs is their new Made By Survivors Pan/Indian Jewelry Design Program.

Their Beaded Jewelry Program is already a big success and this new Metalsmithing Program is being Developed and Run by Dianna Badalament. In the photo to the right you see Dianna teaching with the assistance of an Interpreter.

There is nothing quite like the enthusiasm of a person working "in the trenches"...so, in Dianna's own words:
"i'm the international jewelry program manager at MBS and plan and execute programs and train at jewelry facilities as well as report on progress and various situations. i also facilitate the flow of information and resources from the jewelry community to MBS as well as consult on all matters jewelry.
it is really a privilege to be able to call work that makes such an impact "my job". i truly enjoy training the survivors of human trafficking and sex slavery (a.k.a amazing girls). i've always wanted to do field work on an important issue and i feel so fortunate to be able to use the skills i've learned and pass them on to women to whom it can make a difference that affects the rest of their life.
i've always been involved in human rights groups and to able to meld all these different components from my life together and have this outcome, still makes me shake my head in disbelief at times. it is very difficult to do this work on a lot of levels including, the sacrifices that my family and I make and the psychological impact of the subject matter, to name a couple. however, when you are right in front of the survivors and you get a smile, or a hug, or see some kind of break through, either in your relationship with them or with their vocational work, it is undoubtedly life changing. to see someone so wronged and so abused still persevere and have hope for a good future, it really leaves you no other choice but to follow their stellar example."

This is Dianna with Soma...one of their first success stories is Soma Seal. Soma started out with the program as a translator but was recently promoted to jewelry trainer after proving she had the passion and the talent.



I don't have the space on this blog to share as many photos as I would like of this program...but as Jewelers, take a moment to go to the Made By Survivors Facebook Page and just look at the determined faces of these women as they learn. The women working on the floor, the young woman with her tongue clenched in the corner of her mouth as she concentrates...it brings smiles and tears.


If you have any last minute Holiday shopping to do - why not do it with Fair Trade Goods from the MBS Store...do good while giving great gifts!


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